Larks of Spring
I was across at Seven Sisters Country Park at the end of the week and in the morning I had bright sunshine to accompany me. As I walked a small stretch of the South Downs Way, within the park, I became surrounded by Skylarks.
It was magical despite the cold wind and threatening grey clouds just across the valley. I’ve attempted to share this moment in a little free-range folklore video for you all. Just under a minute of Skylarks. One even allowed me to walk within feet of it before flying off. Apologies for the wind noise on these videos but I was high up on the down and it was a cold and persistent north wind.
So what of the folklore associated with this tiny wonder that throws itself into the air in defence of its nest?
In the Welsh triads it is said that the in the triad of futile battles in Britain, one of the three battles was a battle over a lark’s nest.
Larks were often served up at royal feasts and it was once believed that if you wanted a pious child then their first meal of meat should be that of a lark. The Skylark is, despite its abundance in this particular spot, a red listed bird and should not under any circumstances be eaten. One of the reasons birds make the Red List is because, to quote the RSPB website, ‘there has been a severe historical population decline in UK’.
In the case of the skylark its population dropped by 75% between 1972 and 1996 earning it its place on the Red List. I hope, almost thirty year on, populations are making a comeback. Just think how full of song the sky would have been had they not had this decline!